George Christo George, 55, Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty to mortgage fraud in a case involving defrauding several Northern Nevadans together of more than $238,000 through elaborate schemes that included bogus real estate deals with a fictitious wealthy sheikh and investments in a luxury downtown Reno, Nevada high rise.
The defendant pleaded guilty in Washoe District Court to felony mortgage fraud related to defrauding seven Northern Nevadans between July 2011 and May 2012. George, who also resided in the Los Angeles, California, area, faces up to 20 years in prison, a $50,000 fine and an order to pay restitution. Washoe District Judge Connie Steinheimer scheduled a January 26, 2015 sentencing.
George was arrested in Las Vegas in August 2013 on the attorney general’s warrant. He was later transported to the Washoe County Jail where he has remained in lieu of $380,000 bail. An immigration hold was also placed on him.
George targeted casino workers and their family and friends so that he could fund his lifestyle as a “high roller” throughout casinos across Nevada and in California. Some of the victims believed George was going to help them lower their mortgage bills that had become no longer affordable, while others were duped in real estate investment schemes.
Many of the victims were charmed by George’s high status as a well-known local gambler and his self-proclaimed personal ties to the banking and financial industry. The fraud depleted the savings of all of the victims that included a single mother, business owner, a disabled man and a recent widower.
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez-Masto announced the guilty plea.
Senior Deputy Attorney Generals Ronda Clifton and John McGlamery prosecuted this case.
“This case highlights how mortgage fraud criminals use deception and misrepresentation to steal from innocent victims who are simply trying to obtain an affordable mortgage in these hard economic times,” Masto said. “My office will continue to hold these criminals responsible for the horrific aftermath their frauds have left and to prosecute them to the fullest.”